Baxter Memorial Library staff has been dealing with the aftereffects of a burst water pipe which was discovered on the afternoon of New Year’s Day. A water pipe apparently froze, then burst somewhere near the main floor level, which caused a significant amount of water to flow into the lower level.
The most significant damage took place in the staff restroom on the lower floor, where the ceiling, walls, and floors were completely ruined. Fortunately, the children’s book collection and other significant items stored on the lower level were not affected by the flooding.
As all of the carpeting in the children’s room and a storage room was thoroughly soaked by the flooding, the library had to close the entire lower level on a temporary basis. According to library director James Rathbun, the library has not yet received a statement of the full damage cost, and they do not yet have a timeframe for reconstructing the staff restroom. Staff anticipated that the carpet-drying process would be complete by January 6 so the children’s section could reopen shortly thereafter.
Director Rathbun added that employees of the library and the Gorham Public Works Department had been checking on the library every few hours, day and night, during the recent cold snap. Due to the timing of when town employees had checked on the library, they were able to estimate that the pipe had been leaking for only a few hours before being discovered, which prevented the children’s book collection and other library assets from being more severely damaged.
Rathbun went on to praise the quick response by personnel from Gorham Public Works, the Gorham Fire Department, and ServPro, who all did a great deal to mitigate the effect of the flooding on the library’s facili- ties, preventing more damage to the children’s area.